BERNALILLO — The Sandoval County Commission unanimously approved amending the list of polling locations for the 2021 local election during Monday’s special meeting.
Citing ongoing challenges associated with COVID-19 and polling sites no longer being available, County Attorney Robin Hammer and Deputy County Attorney David Mann submitted a petition to 13th Judicial District Court Judge Cindy Mercer to remove 15 polling locations used in 2019, including Rio Rancho City Hall and Esther Bone Memorial Library, and replace them with seven new locations, including the Sandoval County Fairgrounds in Cuba, for the 2021 local election.
Mercer signed off on it, and the county commission OK’d the measure.
“We’re operating on the premise that (restrictions) are not going away,” said Joey Dominguez, Sandoval County chief deputy clerk.
Within Rio Rancho, special taxing districts will have elections Nov. 2 for their boards. Those special taxing districts are set up to pay for infrastructure within specific neighborhoods. One has to live in a district to vote or run for the board. The county’s running the 2021 election for those special taxing districts.
Dominguez said the county will have sufficient check-in areas for heavy traffic flow and ballot-on-demand services. He also said the county is incorporating technology to give estimated wait times.
“Technology will be at the forefront of ensuring wait times are minimal,” Dominguez said.
Sandoval County Clerk Anne Brady-Romero said the county will implement same-day registration for 2021, as well as additional absentee ballot drop boxes.
Brady-Romero said if someone, for instance, recently moved from Rio Rancho to Cuba, that person can update their voter registration information so the county doesn’t have to purge information.
When it comes to the polling locations, Brady-Romero said anyone within Sandoval County can vote at any of the county’s 39 convenience centers.
Dominguez said the number of absentee-ballot drop boxes will be expanded to more rural parts of the county to encourage voting.
He also said the clerk’s office plans to launch a simple voting website, similar to Bernalillo County’s voting website, and is working with the commission to secure a URL.
Once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, Dominguez said the county will begin adding more polling sites.